By on August 2, 2021

With reports coming out everywhere that American muscle cars will be revised into electrified sedans or crossover vehicles, you might find yourself in the market for the biggest V8 you can find before they’re made intentionally scarce. But perhaps you’re keen to enter the drag-racing scene and find the Dodge Demon’s supercharged 6.2-liter insufficient for what could be the last gasp of petroleum-powered insanity.

Chevrolet believes it has you covered with the 2022 COPO Camaro, which can be ordered with an enormous 572-cubic-inch (9.4-liter) motor or a couple of LS-based, small-block alternatives. 

Those smaller engines come in two flavors. For the fainthearted, there’s a naturally aspirated 427-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) V8 the National Hot Rod Association has rated at 470 horsepower. Though the COPO unit that seems more fairly stacked against the Challenger Mopar Drag Pak or Mustang Cobra Jet is the supercharged 350-cubic-inch V8 the NHRA quoted at 580 hp. Sadly, the 572-cubic-inch motor hasn’t been assessed yet. We estimate its output as substantial — to say the least — though less robust than its siblings in terms of on-paper value.

Of course, nobody buying a COPO Camaro plans on running them on the street. They’re specifically designed to compete in NHRA Stock and Super Stock class eliminations and cannot be legally driven on public roads. This is also why they all come equipped with an ATI Racing Products TH400 three-speed automatic that wrangles all the power flooding to the rear wheels. Customers also receive specialty carbon-fiber hoods and wheelie bars (for starters) by default, with Chevrolet providing an option to add things like a truck-mounted weight box and parachute.

But going with the “base model” isn’t exactly a thrifty decision, as getting into any of them requires a six-figure commitment. The 572 COPO Camaro starts at $105,500 (before taxes or fees), while the 427 comes in at $117,500. The smaller 350-cubic-inch model, which also happens to have the most factory competition and highest peak output, starts at a sizable $130,000.

The good news is that Chevrolet doesn’t plan on limiting COPO Camaro models this year. Originally, General Motors only allowed its Central Office Production Order to allow drag-obsessed dealers to commission just 69 (nice) examples of the original car in 1969. Since being revived, that program has continued with vehicles being distributed by lottery. But we’re living in an era where there are suddenly a lot more wealthy people to purchase something like a COPO and fewer middle-class individuals who can afford a mid-tier muscle car for weekend adventures. So GM has opted against placing production limits on the purpose-built dragsters this time around. Instead, they’ll simply be delivered on a first-come-first-served basis.

[Images: General Motors]

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17 Comments on “Need a 9.4-Liter V8? Chevrolet Has You Covered...”

  • avatar
    Undead Zed

    The crate motor that Chevy offers with this block comes in two flavors. Both NA, rated at 621 and 727hp for their 620 and 720R trims respectively. Assuming this is gonna have a big ass supercharger on it, I’d wager we’re looking at 800-900hp, maybe more if the General ropes Hennessey in for the tuning.

    BTW if you for whatever reason wanna save a couple bucks and drop this thing into your own car, it’s a mere $16k for the 720R.

  • avatar

    The ZZ572 with a carb and dizzy is rated 720HP so with what looks like fuel injection and coil on plug from that pic, I’d expect something in the 900s, and somehow that’s the ‘base’ model, huh.

    • 0 avatar

      “I’d expect something in the 900s, and somehow that’s the ‘base’ model, huh.”

      Nope, somehow, it’s only 430hp.

      • 0 avatar

        NHRA horsepower ratings are not the same thing as SAE horsepower ratings. It is like comparing Celsius to Fahrenheit. The NHRA rating is adjusted based on weight and drag class.

        Here’s an old forum post where someone complains about it:

  • avatar

    It would be awesome to have one of these. Kudos for eliminating the limit on production….

  • avatar

    Did they do this sort of thing when the handwriting was on the wall fifty years ago?

  • avatar

    “Of course, nobody buying a COPO Camaro plans on running them on the street”

    Is that a “nudge nudge wink wink” comment or are you serious?

    This kind of stuff finds its way to the street all of the time.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    After the 70 1/2 Dodge Challenger the insurance companies jacked up the rates on muscle because the higher horsepower made them higher risk. Then in 1973 the Arab Oil Embargo along with stricter emission standards like catalytic converters and higher mpgs along with unleaded gas significantly reduced horsepower. The technology was not there in the 70s to make higher efficiency and less polluting vehicles without reducing the horsepower. The Arab Oil Embargo caught Detroit off guard and most of Detroit’s compact cars were not that much more efficient than the full size cars at the time and the mini-cars or what we call the subcompact offerings from Detroit like the Pinto and Vega were not very good.

    The few muscle cars with V8s available today are the last of the ICE V8s. With increased regulation and higher mpgs the days of performance V8s are numbered. Those that can afford these cars and want them better buy them soon because they will not be available in the near future. The same is true for full size pickups with V8s with even the 2022 Toyota Tundra dropping the V8 for a turbo V6. We might not all being going to EVs soon but there will be more ICE with smaller turbo engines and more hybrids.

  • avatar

    No wonder GM is falling behind, ford beat them on the aluminum f150, now ford has the electric f150 almost ready and GM waste its time on stupid stuff. They will never catch to tesla. RIP GM

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Stelantis and Ford have both release high performance versions of the Challenger and Mustang with the Demon being the Challenger version. I don’t fault GM for releasing this as there are enough enthusiasts to buy these type of cars even though they are low volume and these cars have a halo effect on the brand. GM has the Bolt and will release an EV Cadillac soon. GMs problems are more than not having an EV that will compete with Tesla.

  • avatar

    Definitely needs more cubic inches.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    I wonder where else this beast is going to be found in the GM product line. It seems hard to believe that GM would spend all this money on design and tooling for this engine, for such a small market.
    What am I missing?

    • 0 avatar

      This is a crate engine available for purchase for your muscle car direct from GM.

      Most of it is based on the Chevy big blocks of decades ago, and the 572 itself has been offered for years.

      The only novelty here is fitting into a factory built vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      Ol Shel

      At $16K a pop, they don’t need too many racers/fools to step up.

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